Incredible videos of a strange, multi-story tall marionette performed by helicopters have been popping up all over the `net since since this video was allegedly shot in Reykjavik, Iceland on September 18th. I have no idea what this was done for; some people are speculating it was done as part of a viral ad campaign for jeans (note that the puppet wears jeans in the video above), while others have suggested it’s some kind of large-scale art exhibition.
Here is an alternate view the marionette that shows the helicopters operating the puppet:
…and another, shot from a car down the street that shows the marionette being carried off:
Whatever this was done for, if it’s real this is an astounding feat of large-scale puppetry on par with the work of Royal de Luxe (see previous post). I can’t be certain, but I’d suspect that if this is real, then it’s quite likely the largest puppet ever performed.
If you know more about this, or have seen additional photos or video please email me and let me know and I’ll post them here!
Update: Everyone seems to be wondering if this is fake or not. I have to admit, as I was writing this earlier today I couldn’t help but be a little suspicious. As someone else pointed out to me earlier today, it’s a little like the Marc Ecko tagging Air Force One stunt earlier this year. As I wrote earlier, it’s completely astounding…almost a little too astounding.
Mary Robinette Kowal, who’s living in Iceland right now, wrote in with these comments:
I’m fairly certain that this is faked. I live in Reykjavik and not only did I completely miss this, which astounds me, there was nothing in the papers or on tv about it. No one I’ve talked to here saw it or heard about anyone else seeing it. The entire country only has 280,000 people and everyone knows everyone else. It’s hard to believe that it would have happened without everyone talking about it, particularly hard to believe that no one would mention it to me…All of which makes me inclined to agree with the people who think it were faked. Not to mention the fact, that the helicopters are extremely unlikely.
That said, the illusion is beautifully done.
There are several give aways in the video that it’s probably faked. The random strangers who happened upon this seem to be able to get awful close to the giant marionette with no signs of blockaded roads or police anywhere, contrary to what you’d expect with a stunt of this nature. Also, despite all the video footage that’s surfaced, I haven’t found a single still photo on Flickr or anywhere else.
I emailed a friend of mine who’s a pilot about the feasibility of doing this with helicopters and this was his response:
I don’t know about the mechanics of the puppetry involved, but I’m inclined to believe the footage is faked. It’s probably not impossible for experienced pilots (military maybe?) to pull off a stunt of this nature with helicopters, but from my experience it would seem to be unnecessarily difficult and dangerous. Why go to all this trouble for a TV commercial when you could just do it with CG?
Please keep the comments coming! If you know more about this, especially who’s responsible, please drop me a line.
29/09/06 Update: The puppet is wearing Levis according to AdRants. Someone has started a MySpace profile called The Giant Puppet to “prove” the videos are fake, but I am wondering if that’s just part of whatever this whole thing is. The fact they are located in Vatican City seems just a little suspicious to me, but as AdRants already pointed out who cares?
Real or fake, this is pretty cool.